The Ohio Department of Mental Health (ODMH)/Help Me Grow (HMG) Maternal Depression Screening Program (MDSP) was originally developed by Dr. Amy Heneghan at Case Western Reserve University in late 2004, was transferred in July 2006 to Dr. Frank Putnam at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC) and was completed in 2011 having served its purpose. The project originally consisted of two main components: 1) a maternal depression awareness training for health professionals serving mothers and children; and 2) a pilot project to evaluate the feasibility of large scale screening for maternal depression by Help Me Grow workers in 7 pilot counties in Ohio (Columbiana, Cuyahoga, Lorain, Lucas, Mahoning, Muskingum, and Scioto). Since its inception the pilot has transformed into a fully functioning maternal depression screening program and is now embedded in Help Me Grow policy and screening is conducted in all 88 counties in Ohio.
Ohio counties that participated in the program include: Allen, Athens, Clark, Clermont, Columbiana, Defiance, Erie, Fairfield, Hancock, Hocking, Lorain, Mahoning, Montgomery, Muskingum, Ottawa, Perry, Preble, Scioto, Summit, Trumbull, Union, Vinton, and Washington.
The program involved Help Me Grow workers administering the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) to mothers as part of their standard services. Mothers scoring in the clinical range (greater than or equal to 12) on the EPDS were referred to a county mental health provider, who, in turn, arranged for further evaluation and treatment of the mother. See list of FAQs for additional information.
A web-based data system was utilized by HMG Service Coordinators to enter EPDS screening information and make facilitated mental health referrals within their counties. Data was analyzed and shared with program participants. The database allowed for better communication between Help Me Grow and Mental Health around services provided to Mothers and Children in each county.
With HMG policies for home visitation mandating that home visitors offer the EPDS to all birth mothers whose program eligible child is 6 months old or younger and whenever the home visitor has a concern about depression in a mother, HMG home visitors in all Ohio counties are now screening for maternal depression using the EPDS. However, in addition to HMG, Early Head Start and mental health screeners were also included in the MDSP. Monthly conference calls, access to the web-based data system, and technical assistance were available to all program participants at no charge.
If you would like additional information on the Maternal Depression Screening Program, please contact Debbie Sharp Send Email.